Super Tuesday Twisters Hit 5 States, Killing at Least 48

The death toll continues to rise today as emergency crews find more victims from dozens of tornadoes that swept through the South late Tuesday and early Wednesday. More than 50 tornadoes were reported touching down as a series of thunderstorms hit the nation's midsection at the end of the Super Tuesday primaries. At least 48 people were killed, according to reports by 9:30 a.m. ET today.

The victims include at least 24 people in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky, and four in Alabama. Hundreds more were injured, officials said. In Mississippi, a twister leveled warehouses in an industrial park in Southaven, a city just south of Memphis.

According to FEMA, the peak tornado season in southern states is March through May and in northern states, late spring through early summer. But the agency notes that, clearly, the storms can occur at any time, and when they do they may strike quickly, with little or no warning. A rare spasm of winter weather spawned last night's twisters, officials said.

FEMA and the NOAA Weather Service say that every state is at some risk from tornado hazards. In the event of bad weather, the agencies recommend listening to the radio for the latest information and looking for the following danger signs of tornadoes: a dark, often greenish sky; large hail; a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating); and/or a loud roar, "similar to a freight train." They say if you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately. For information about tornadoes, including how to remain as safe as possible during one and how to get assistance after one or help someone affected by a disaster, visit http://www.fema.gov/hazard/tornado/index.shtm.

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